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Partners HealthCare Systems agrees to pay 700 employees more than $2.7 million in overtime back wages to resolve U.S. Labor Department lawsuit
BOSTON — Partners HealthCare Systems Inc. and its affiliated hospitals and health care companies throughout eastern Massachusetts have agreed to pay 700 employees more than $2.7 million in overtime back wages to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
"We are pleased that the department has succeeded in securing such a substantial amount of back wages for these workers who were not properly paid for overtime they had worked," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
The FLSA requires that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage, and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. The law also requires that employers maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and conditions of employment.
Partners' management contacted the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division after realizing that affiliated companies might be in violation of the FLSA.
"The problem," noted George Rioux, director of the division's Boston District Office, "was that employees were working for more than one Partners-affiliated hospital or health care facility during a single workweek, but their hours worked during those workweeks were not being combined to determine if overtime was due."
Following the contact by Partners, a Wage and Hour Division investigation confirmed that the defendants had failed to aggregate hours on separate payrolls when certain employees worked for two or more of the defendants during the same workweek. The Labor Department and Partners agreed that the best way to resolve the matter was through the filing of a complaint and consent judgment in federal court.
The Labor Department's suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The consent judgment, agreed to by the parties, was signed by Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton on July 21, 2009. Named as defendants in the suit were: Partners HealthCare Systems Inc., The Brigham and Women's Hospital Inc., Faulkner Hospital Inc., The General Hospital Corp. (Massachusetts General Hospital), The McLean Hospital Corp., North Shore Medical Center Inc., North Shore Physicians Group Inc., Newton-Wellesley Hospital, The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Corp., Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands, Shaughnessy-Kaplan Rehabilitation Hospital Inc., Partners Home Care Inc., Partners Private Care Inc., FRC Inc. and Partners Community Healthcare Inc.
The consent judgment prohibits the defendants from future violations of the FLSA's overtime provisions and orders them to pay the back wages totaling $2,756,514, which cover the period from Jan. 1, 2007, through March 21, 2009.
The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division office in Boston investigated this case, and the suit was filed by the department's Regional Solicitor's Office, also in Boston. For more information about the requirements of the FLSA, contact the Wage and Hour Division office in Boston at 617-624-6700 or call the Department of Labor's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at http://www.wagehour.dol.gov.
Solis v. Partners HealthCare Systems Inc., et al; Civil Action Number: 1:09-CV-10666